Dave Isaac on Codecs.

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When multi Grammy Award-winning Producer/Engineer/Mixer, Dave Isaac doesn't have his hands full working with the likes of Marcus Miller, Anita Baker and Madonna, he's busy teaching music production at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood and at UCLA in Westwood, CA. Recently, he talked with us about how useful the Codec Toolbox has become, both to himself and to his students.

How do you use the Codec Toolbox at school?

What I do is show students how to listen to the mix in real-time, and observe the effect encoding has on it. Before the Sonnox Fraunhofer Pro Codec and Codec Toolbox, you didn't really know how the software was shifting things around and what sound quality it was eliminating in order to make the track smaller in size. Sometimes, it even sounded like it was moving instruments and changing depth.

But with the Codec Toolbox, you can listen in real-time and hear exactly what it's doing. Toolbox lets you know what you've got immediately, so you don't have to A/B after-the-fact. I also show them how easy it is to add metadata. You can see where you add artwork and so on. With a lot of the students nowadays, they're not creating a lot of WAV files or AIFF files, they're putting their stuff up on SoundCloud in lower resolution formats. The Codec Toolbox allows them to make sure their music is going to sound the best it possibly can in those formats.

So you have them run through the different encoder settings?

Yes, I do show them that. Of course for them, they can't hear everything yet, since they're beginning students or new to training their ears. But they can hear the difference between say an AAC and an MP3.

It's a great thing to get students used to hearing the real differences.

Yes, it is. All software companies should start to think in terms of students, because those are the seeds to the next generation in the industry. And with the way they use software - they're using it way more than we do, or more than we would have - for those brought up in a hardware era. If there were more products like this, where they can understand it quickly and put it into their workflow, all of the software would be easily accepted. Today's students are being brought up in an era where software is king.

The great thing about the Codec Toolbox is that it's easy to explain to students, both in terms of hearing what it does, and how to use it. The whole thing is really a piece of cake for them. The Codec Toolbox hits it right on the nose - it's where it needs to be right now.


Interview and editorial provided by Rich Tozzoli